Asee peer logo

Machining Experience in a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Manufacturing and Machine Component Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.879.1 - 24.879.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Scott F. Kiefer York College of Pennsylvania

visit author page

Scott Kiefer has spent the past thirteen years teaching mechanical engineering at four institutions. As an exemplary teaching specialist in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, Scott received the Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence, given to one faculty member in the College in Engineering for outstanding instructional performance. Scott specializes in machine design, vibrations and controls, and mechatronics. He started his career at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in the traditional role of teaching and administering a modest research program. At Trine University, a small private school in Angola, Indiana, Scott taught ten different courses from introductory freshman courses to senior design, while serving as advisor to many undergraduate research projects. For the last three years, Scott has been at York College of Pennsylvania where his concentration is on undergraduate education in mechanical engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Machining Experience in a Mechanical Engineering CurriculumCan a student become a good mechanical engineer without ever walking into a machine shop? Theanswer to this question may be that it is possible. However, this paper will make the argument that agood design engineer needs to have understanding and experience that can best be obtained in amachine shop. Better mechanical designs will be created by a designer with the completeunderstanding of how machine components are communicated through mechanical drawings,dimensioned and toleranced, and finally created in a machine shop. Furthermore, this paper willexplore how project builds should be included throughout the curriculum so that every student gets theappropriate exposure to the proper machining experiences to hone their mechanical design skills.Most mechanical engineering programs have three logical places where machining experiences can bevery effective. First, many schools have a freshman design experience that focuses on outcomes such asthe important aspects of teamwork, communication skills, and lifelong learning. Unquestionably theseare very important skills, and they fit well in the freshman year. However, these skills can easily beincorporated into projects that focus on the machining experience giving students the basicunderstanding of machining that will make them better mechanical designers in the future. The basicmachining skills learned in the freshman year can then be applied to a junior level mechanical designcourse that incorporates a design, build, and test project. Students will then be ready to apply designanalysis to create simple devices that they can manufacture in the machine shop. Finally, a capstonecourse will naturally make use of machining skills.Assessing the importance of including machining skills in the mechanical engineering curriculum for allstudents will be substantiated with data from local industries, student and alumni feedback, and byofficials from professional organizations. Specific examples will be given of student project work,industry feedback, and course outcomes. Student retention in mechanical engineering will also beaddressed.

Kiefer, S. F. (2014, June), Machining Experience in a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22812

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015